Homemade Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heater Made at Home

It’s simple and inexpensive to make a solar water heater for your pool at home. Just in time for spring, learn how to build one.

Do you require the use of a solar water heater?

Many people have pools here in the southern portion of the Spanish Riviera, but no one seems to heat them. Warm weather arrives earlier in the year than it did in Michigan, so we should theoretically be able to use a pool earlier (and till later in the fall), but the cool nights mean the pool loses too much heat during the night to be pleasant. That’s why, a few years ago, we built a solar water heater for our pool at home.

It’s easier than you might think to make your own solar water heater, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

What are the materials required to construct a solar water heater?

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All you need to create your own solar water heater is a length of black garden hose and something to wrap it around and hold it in place. After that, you link it to your pool filter, allowing the filtered water to travel through your DIY solar water heater before returning to the pool. The goal is to reheat the filtered water as it is being filtered. You’ll need a water pump to push the water through your black garden tubing if you’re not utilizing it with your filter.

You can also use this to heat the water while you fill your pool by connecting it to your faucet. You don’t need a pump if you do it that way, and you can rely on the force of the water pouring from the faucet.
I’ll mention that you go through a lot more tubing than you might think. We created this last year, so I’m not sure how much tubing we used, but I’m guessing around 100m!

Adapters to connect the tubing from your filter to the (presumably) smaller tubing of your homemade solar water heater will be required, depending on the tubing you have connected to your filter.

What is a solar water heater and how does it work?

The premise is actually rather simple…
Because black absorbs heat, when the sun shines on your black garden tubing, the heat from the sun is absorbed and transferred to the water that travels through it. You’ll be able to heat more water in the same length of time if you utilize more hose. Does that make sense?

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However, the more tubing you have, the more powerful the filter or water pump you’ll need to drive the water through it all.

We coiled the garden hose onto a cross made out of thin wood pieces and fastened the tubing in place with plastic ties when we first created our homemade solar water heater a couple of years ago. They were, believe it or not, the most expensive aspect of the endeavor! We spaced them out a little too far apart because they were quite expensive, and the hose began to bunch up on itself over the course of the year.
Last year, we decided to repair our handmade solar water heater by dismantling it and reassembling it on more sturdy wood beams. My husband, who is a fisherman, came up with a few decent knots to use to secure our black garden tubing. He decided to make sure it would keep together after tying it all down, so he used two bits of wood to attach the tubing to our wooden cross on two of the sides. So far, it’s held up admirably!

How effective are these solar water heaters?

When the water first comes out of the hose, it’s quite hot, but when more cold water passes through it, it cools down a little.

You might think this indicates your homemade solar water heater isn’t functioning as well as it once did, but if you compare the temperature of the water to the cooler water in your pool, you’ll see that it’s still being heated quite a bit.

We chose to leave our above ground swimming pool up for the first time this year as an experiment because it’s a pain to take it down, clean and dry it, fold it, store it, and then take it out to fill again!

We’d heard that some people had successfully left theirs up all winter, so we decided to give it a shot.

It worked out perfectly, and my kid and niece were already in the pool this past weekend!
If it hadn’t been for the cool weather we’ve been having this spring, they would have been playing in it weeks ago.

I checked the temperature of the pool water before they started swimming, and it was under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn’t thought to check the temperature of the water coming out of the heater until it had been running for a long and was much cooler, but even then, the temperature was over 95oF. After only a few minutes of running, it quickly raised the temperature of our little pool by a couple of degrees, making swimming more comfortable for the youngsters.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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